Friday, December 22, 2006

The Ups and Downs of Life in Nampula

Oy! Only 16 minutes of internet left!!!! Here goes:

Things we were told we would have:
-very close water source or even running water
-a GREAT fruit and vegetable market
-a wood market
-a short term temp house until our house is finished

Things we actually have:
-None of the above
-May be getting a generator, but they are not very powerful, loud and smelly
-We pay to have water carried from about 1/4 mile away (3 buckets = 1.5 miles round trip)
-no wood market
-BLATANT lack of fruit and veg (market has mango, onion, garlic, a few puny tomatoes, and.....dried fish. Throw in bread rice and beans, and imagine this as the extent of your cooking resources. Oy.
-Temp house for at least 6 months because our house is nowhere near done

Other things we have:
-large cockroaches
-dead rat (my bedroom)
-live rat (kitchen)
-scorpions (small and not too dangerous, so don't worry too much)

Nice things:
-beautiful, glorious mCell tower in the middle of my town, so i have CELL PHONE service. This is the only thing keeping me sane, so keep the texts and calls coming.
-our temp house has a TILE roof from the Portuguese era so it is MUCH cooler than a tin roof.
-Nice verandah
-Very proactive school director who considers our happiness and safety his number 1 priority
-Very cool NGO neighbors "medicus mundi" with doctors from Italy, Spain and Russia
-Our temp and permanent houses are in the safest part of town
-We will probably be able to go to Pemba and Nampula regularly to buy fruits and veg.

You know your life has changed when:
-You get up between 4 and 5 every day because you can't imagine sleeping later than that, plus it's the nicest part of the day
-You start sweating at 6:30
-You and your roommate are SHOCKED by how LATE you are up at 8:45
-You habitually go to bed at 8pm
-You go to a supermarket in city for the first time in four months and feel dizzy and overwhelmed

Things that i am called in my town:
Laura (pronounced LOW-RAH)
Laurinha (little Laura)
Menina (girl)
A Senorha Professora (the lady professor)
Doctora (title for someone who has finished univerisity)
Mana (big sister)
Tia (aunt)
Colega (colleague)
Lots of names for one person!!

Did manage to get to Pemba the other day. Very pretty. Has FRUIT AND VEGETABLES AND FRESH FISH. Very exciting. Sadly there is only one bus a day, which doesn't come back until the next day, so this may be problematic. We shall see.

Am in Nampula with a pack of Volunteers today. We're heading off to spend Christmas and New Years together on the coast with even more volunteers. Should be lots of fun. At the crazy supermarket today I splurged and bought: peanut butter, nutella, apricot jam and olive oil. Oh the happiness.

Ok, that's about it for now.

Love to all, and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

p.s. still haven't figured out the best place for a P.O. Box up north, but for now you can still send stuff to the Maputo box, and Peace Corps will get them to me eventually.... : )


At 12:06 PM, Blogger Erin said...

Hey! No one has clamed "my Laura" which will always be what I call you! :) Let me know THE SCOND you have an address!!!

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

That sounds pretty challenging set of circumstances, but I'm glad to hear you are safe. I hope the rest of my letters get to you eventually, but I'm glad you got the one. And yay for cell phone service! Much love.

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knowing your living conditions is close to mine makes me happier. (Just joking..)

Here are the things my 326th unit was told to have in the barracks at Ft. Campbell:
Internet, single room, fridge, locker, desk, chair.

We don't have any of that.. except the fridge - but it doesn't work. We just use it to store grocery bags to be used as trash bags.

Other things we have:
-A fat annoying specialist who enjoys knocking on our doors at 5:30am. (We don't even know his name, we just refer to him as, "Fat Sapper")
-Redneck food - Gritz... lots of it.

Nice things:
None.. (What a surprise)

You know your life has changed when:
You actually start enjoying the gritz.

Other names I'm called:
Uh.. you don't wanna know.

Glad you guys have a fresh fruit, vegie market. I'll bet it's better than the ones in the states because ours are filled with pesticides.

Keep up your good work in ol' Africa. Merry Christmas too.

-PFC Chen, Ying.

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous trevor said...

I can not believe you wasted a splurge on something as horrid as nutella.

olive oil=good choice


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